Balkanizing the Web

“I would have happily paid 4 dollars per episode for the Season 3 of Damages. But since it was not available thru any legal channel, I managed to get my weekly fix the very next day it was aired in the US.”

Apple’s Move, Patently Bad Idea

News of Apple suing HTC for patent infringement do take away from the nice general feeling of their products. In an open letter to Steve Jobs, Wil Shipley writes:

If Apple becomes a company that uses its might to quash competition instead of using its brains, it’s going to find the brainiest people will slowly stop working there. You know this, you watched it happen at Microsoft. Enforcing patents isn’t a good long-term play: it’s the beginning of the end of the creative Apple we both love.

And you don’t have to wait to see that effect taking place. In a post about the patent lawsuit by Apple, Robert O’Callahan says:

I’m very glad I don’t work for Apple.

Previously in that same post O’Callahan discusses one of the patent claims that covers a method for moving an object in a graphical user interface:

It was filed in 2001 and issued in 2008. (The other claims are mostly restatements of the same idea.) So when Jobs says
“We think competition is healthy, but competitors should create their own original technology, not steal ours.”
not only does he believe that in 2000 Apple was the first company to invent the idea of time-based animation of objects with non-constant velocity, but he also believes that they deserve a monopoly on use of that idea until 2021, and that anyone else using the idea until then is stealing from Apple. All three beliefs are ludicrous and shameful.

I can understand that those at Apple are less likely to realize how this tarnishes their image. Unfortunately, it might also be hard to measure and prove how, in my opinion, this is a bad decision on their part no matter what the outcome. Gruber pointed out a couple ways you could try to spin this:

I can think of only a few optimistic angles for this suit. One is that perhaps it’s a by-product of the suit Apple is engaged in against (and initiated by) Nokia. Apple’s counter-suit against Nokia involves some of the same patents at play here, and perhaps Apple’s lawyers have concluded that they need to enforce them against someone like HTC in order to use them in their counter-suit against Nokia. Or, perhaps one or more of the truly technical patents Apple has cited against HTC are genuine instances of intellectual property theft, the specific nature of which is unclear from the opaque language of the patent filings, and the rest of the cited patent violations were tacked on as part of a legal strategy along the lines of “If you’re going to punch them, punch them as hard as you can”. I.e. that they’ve filed suit as widely as they can, but have specific narrow violations in mind.

But the harm is done. Gruber finishes with:

What worries me is that idea that Apple, or even just Steve Jobs, believes that phones like the Nexus One have no right to exist, period, and that patent litigation to keep them off the market is in the company’s interests. I say it’s worrisome not because I think it’s evil, or foolish, or unreasonable, but because it is unwise, shortsighted, and unnecessary.

Unwise, shortsighted, and unnecessary… patently obvious I would like to think.

“Software” is dead…

Guy English postulates that software has been democratized.

It is loud, it is ugly, it is popular and we fear it will never improve.

He has coined Pop Software, or so it would seem from a quick Google search. Pop Apps might have been better, being as he says that “software” is dead, if it wouldn’t be because it clashes with pop-ups.

Via Gruber.

The end of the record labels?

John Gruber mentions a post by Tristan Louis about where Apple is going with LP. The article focuses on video, but I think that the biggest change Apple can do, and I believe that is only a matter of time, will be to allow musicians to upload their music to iTunes directly, with LP extras or not.

Following on the success and methodology of the AppStore, any aspiring musician will be able to market him or herself for nothing, with a 70/30 split between the musician and apple when anything sells. A five minute job for the musician, plus their music. Add to that the chance to use LP to add all kinds of extras and Genius/Genius Mix being taken into account when you visit the store, and you’ll be able to discover music that you like from groups that haven’t signed up with anyone. Voila! The end of RIAA and music label’s significance. Good job, Apple!

The Art of the (Title) Smoke

One of my favo(u)rite movies on this site full of movie and tv series credit sequences. There is also the Donnie Brasco title sequence. I remember it being mentioned in Hillman Curtis’ book MTIV – Process, Inspiration and Practice for the New Media Designer that I read many years back.

This section of the book is based on the talk I gave that day. And
the talk itself grew out of a simple practice of sharing we have at the

It worked like this: If I was reading a great book – say, Making Movies by
Sidney Lurnet, (Vintage Books) – I would hand it to our creative
director, Ian Kovalik, as soon as I was done. He would then read it and
hand it to Homera. Or perhaps Grant would come in, and, as his computer
was starting up, turn and say to me, “Did you see the Viola show up on
57th Street? It’s amazing,” at which point I would shake my head in
disbelief, ashamed that I wasn’t aware that there was a new Bill Viola
show. I would recover quickly enough, though, to mention the
Phillip-Lorca diCorcia show at the Pace/MacGill Gallery in SoHo. And so

The point is that, in our small shop, we’re always
collecting inspiration and sharing it with each other. We then use
those shared inspirations as starting points, like blueprints or maps,
for our own work. Sometimes we even find ourselves using them to
directly communicate our ideas, suggesting “a little Kyle Cooper”
(Donnie Brasco, not Seven…) here, and “a touch of Brockmann” there. And
always, always chanting the classic Hemmingway line, “Write the story,
take out all the good lines, and see if it still works” as we go.

I hope to make clear with this section is that we are all, as
creatives, tying to do the same thing. That regardless of our medium,
whether it be design, poetry, fiction, painting, filmmaking, or any
other form of creative expression, at the core of everything we do lies
the need to communicate.

Feel it is about time I gave it a second read.

Free our Bills!

Feel free to lend a hand. They need your help.

“The Nice Polite Campaign to Gently Encourage
Parliament to Publish Bills in a 21st Century Way, Please. Now.”

Google’s Chart API

Hello World! How are you?Look mum! No images!

This image was generated through the Google Charts API. Just copy and paste the following text,10,20,30,30&chs=240x90&chl=Hello|World|How|Are|You

into your browser to see it in action.

The best part is that it supports sparklines as easily as this.